Professor's Recital to Feature British, American Music
WAYNE, Neb. (Oct. 27, 2008) – Dr. Elise Gutshall, soprano and professor of voice at Wayne State College, will present “A Hop Across the Pond: An Evening of British and American Music,” at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 29 in the Ramsey Theatre at Wayne State College. The performance will feature Dr. Jay O'Leary, professor of woodwinds, instrumentation and music history at Wayne State, on oboe, and Wayne State accompanist Phil Pfaltzgraff on piano.
The program will consist of the following works:
Ten Blake Songs for voice and oboe by Ralph Vaughan Williams: Vaughan William’s Ten Blake Songs, composed one year prior to his death, was written for a film on the English poet and painter William Blake titled, “The Vision of William Blake.” Eight of the 10 songs were used in the film. Vaughan Williams was conscious of contemporary musical developments, and these songs exploit the use of 20th century dissonance (particularly minor seconds, minor thirds, and tri-tones), which can also be found in other compositions written later in his life. This set is composed using only oboe and voice and was written in commemoration of the bicentenary of Blake’s birth.
Richard Hundley's Octaves and Sweet Sounds: Octaves and Sweet Sounds was commissioned by Art Song Minnesota, a festival sponsored by the University of Minnesota, and received its premiere performance June 9, 1990, at the McKnight Theatre in The Ordway, with mezzo-soprano Glenda Maurice accompanied by pianist Ruth Palmer. Straightway Beauty on Me Waits (James Purdy), Strings in the Earth and Air (James Joyce), and Moonlight’s Watermelon (Jose Garcia Villa) constitute three of the five songs in the set. Come Ready, and See Me (James Purdy) (1971) is a song that does not belong to this set, but is Hundley’s most popular art song.
Libby Larsen's Three Cowboy Songs: Cowboy Songs are three character songs. Two of the texts are drawn from cowboy/girl poetry, “Bucking Bronco” with a text by Belle Starr and “Billy the Kid” with an anonymous text. The third, “Lift me into Heaven Slowly” is the re-titled “Sufi Sam Christian” of American poet Robert Creeley.
Lori Laitman's Becoming a Redwood: Becoming a Redwood was composed from August to November 2003 as a gift for Laitman’s husband on his 50th birthday. Dana Gioia loosely based “The Song” on a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke. The remaining songs, “Pentecost,” “Curriculum Vitae,” and “Becoming a Redwood,” are settings of poems by Dana Gioia. “Pentecost,” is particularly poignant due to the tragic loss of Gioia’s own son. The return of musical motives from all the songs serves to unify the cycle and its themes of love, death, and healing. The cycle closes with the repeated note motif from “Curriculum Vitae,” expressing the thought that healing is possible with the passage of time.
Elise Gutshall is a native of Hamilton, Mo. She received degrees in 2000 and 2003 from Northwest Missouri State University and the UMKC Conservatory of Music, respectively. In 2006, she earned a Doctorate of Arts in Music from the University of Mississippi, her research focusing primarily on vocal pedagogy and performance. Her studies included an internship with The Voice Care Associates of Memphis, Tenn., and interdisciplinary work with the Ole Miss Communicative Disorders Department, focusing on pathological disorders of the voice.
Gutshall has performed leading roles with the University of Mississippi Opera Department and Inspiration Point Opera in Eureka Springs, Ark. These productions include The Ballad of Baby Doe, Into the Woods, Die Zauberflöte, The Mikado, Tartuffe, Martha, and Le Nozze di Figaro. In 2007, she received an honorary scholarship from Rotary International to study at the New Zealand School of Music in Wellington, New Zealand. There she researched, under the tutelage of world-renown Brahmsian scholar Inge van Rij, the lied of Richard Strauss and Johannes Brahms.
During her studies in Wellington, she performed with the New Zealand Light Opera as Stella and Antonia in Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann opposite international tenor, Patrick Power. Additionally, she performed with the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra as a finalist in New Zealand’s National Aria and Art Song Competition, placing second in the Lied and English Art Song divisions. While in New Zealand, Gutshall performed as a recitalist and was invited by the New Zealand School of Music to formally present her dissertation findings as a part of the Professionals Lecture Series at Victoria University of Wellington. Gutshall continues to perform as a recitalist and clinician regionally and nationally.